As I am completing Part A of the company's Sponsorship Scheme, I am at the end of my 10 week placement within the department of Futures.
I really enjoyed every aspect of my placement- including both the technical and business aspects. As well as welcoming me into the company, the team that I was with gave me meaningful and engaging work which gave me a sense of purpose throughout my placement. I was also enabled to go out into the wider company and seek subplacements and guidance from other departments, broadening my overall experience.
Although the technical learning curve was massive, I was helped throughout to adapt to the use of different software and processes. Not only did my colleagues offer technical guidance, they also went out of their way to include me in the simplest of elements of work- even down to tea breaks. This kind of effort makes you feel accepted and included, and it was an aspect of my placement that really stood out to me. Outside of my department itself, everyone from graduates to Heads of Disciplines was really keen to speak with me and take time out of their day to explain their area to me. This adds to the overall experience and my sense of belonging within the company.
My Line Manager was approachable and helpful throughout. An expert in his area of the department, he gave really useful insights into my projects and my wider place in the business. He also gave me more flexibility than I expected, meaning that I could tailor my placement to my needs. An example of this would be that I visited external departments, and in some cases such as Product Safety, I was able to follow up initial visits with longer subplacements. This added to my experience and my manager was always supportive of me organising such experiences.
The workload varied throughout my placement. Due to the nature of my projects, there were weeks when I would be incredibly busy and sometimes stressed by my work, however some weeks my supervisor would be too busy to give me a lot of work. The nature of my projects meant that I needed almost constant supervision, with a task being set and then having to be reviewed before I moved on. I feel this sometimes hindered how much I was able to actually achieve, and maybe if I had been given a more independent focus I would have been busier and achieved more.
I at first found it quite difficult to establish the level of responsibility that I had been given, before I fully understood the project. However, once I understood my place I saw that the actual project that I was doing carried a decent amount of responsibility. This was slightly diminished by the level of supervision that was needed, however I still felt that I contributed to the department overall. There was also little opportunity for personal development within my structured placement, meaning that I had to proactively search for external opportunities- which I was happy to do.
I will take a huge amount of organisational experience back to university, most significantly the personal development framework that I have worked with graduates and other professionals to develop. I will use this plan to shape my future studies and placements, and without the experiences I had here I would never have considered many of the skills necessary to be a professional engineer. In addition, the practical experience with engineering software and techniques will clearly be incredibly useful in future studies and placements.
The general atmosphere was very positive- with the entire team coming across as passionate and invested in their work. I would definitely say that this rubbed off on me, and although there were some high pressure periods of time, I was never made to feel like a burden or an extra stress, and was involved in most steps of the project.
The initial framework and introductory period was well organised, however once I began my placement itself I didn't feel that there was a huge amount of organisation involved. This may simply have been down to the department that I was in, or unrealistic expectations of the guidance that I would be given, however some other interns received a great deal of support with organising their placements and I didn't feel that I did. Arranging my own talks and tours was an incredibly positive and helpful experience, however I would've appreciated some more guidance- at least at the start.
As I am on the company's engineering sponsorship scheme, I always understood how much was financially invested in me. However, it definitely took my placement to show me how much they were investing in me personally. The opportunity to return to the company year after year for five placements in total before my graduation is hugely valuable, and I now fully appreciate this opportunity. Through the meetings that I have had during my time here, I now also appreciate the development opportunity that working in a company alongside completing my degree has, as I have a different outlook and organisational approach now.
As I am on the sponsorship scheme, I look forward to returning to the company for both a 57 week placement in Year 3 of my degree and a 10 week placement between years 4 and 5. After this, I hope to join either the graduate scheme or the Sigma scheme, both of which I will apply for during my final year of university. Results dependent, there is almost a guarantee of a place on the GDF, and after spending time within the company I now fully appreciate the breadth of opportunities available to me. I think you'd struggle to find a company with more variety- from Air to Sea- and it is for that reason that I am eager to pursue future employment within the company.
As I live locally, I lived at home instead of with other interns throughout my placement. I found this an overall positive experience, both financially and socially. I was still included in all of the intern activities, and still built up a really strong social circle which I look forward to returning to next year during the next part of my scheme. Although some interns had an unnecessarily competitive and hostile attitude, I was prepared for this and I think that it was a valuable lesson in terms of selectively socialising and not letting other's attitudes effect your own.
For me personally the cost was obviously very low, as I didn't pay rent whilst at home. More widely, the area is relatively cheap compared to its southern counterparts. Many interns live in the local student accommodation blocks which are disused during the summer, and this is an affordable way of living out.
The local pubs were a favourite amongst my cohort, and these were within walking distance of both the clubs and the popular accommodation area. In addition, there is a healthy mix of locals and students, meaning that the atmosphere was generally good. It is a relatively cheap night out, however there aren't that many clubs in the local vicinity, meaning it isn't a regular spot for nightlife.
Within work time I joined the workplace choir, which I found advertised on the company intranet. This offered a source of relaxation and escape during the work day, and I really enjoyed both the activity itself and meeting lots of new people from all over the company. I look forward to rejoining the choir when I return to the company next year. Wider than work, the gyms in the locality are affordable and accessible. Other than that it is well connected the busier cities such as Manchester.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Placement Year (10 Months+)